More than a decade after the airing of their reality show, the original batch of Pinoy Big Brother housemates celebrated their 15th anniversary through a virtual meeting. The online reunion was attended by Sam Milby, Say Alonzo, Jayson Gainza, Chx Alcala, Bob dela Cruz, Uma Khouny, Racquel Reyes, Rico Barreira, and the first ever grand winner Nene Tamayo-Plamio last August 20 at 8 pm and was live streamed on their respective Facebook pages led by director Ian del Carmen. Sam, who made a brief appearance halfway through the almost three-hour chat, was not feeling well, but was able to say hello to everyone and showed the housemates the original guitar he used inside the PBB house which is still displayed in his condo. “You all look the same after 15 years,” Sam said.
The virtual event hit a bit of a hitch when they showed clips from the 2005 show where they spent up to 112 days inside the Pinoy Big Brother house located right across the ABS-CBN compound in Quezon City. This resulted in the video being instantly flagged online, forcing the housemates to start a new chat. Jayson Gainza, who went on to become an actor and comedian after his stint on the show, thanked the fans for their longstanding support. “Nagpapasalamat ako sa mga sumabaybay sa atin hanggang ngayon hindi pa rin sila bumibitaw sa journey natin mula 2005 until now. Maraming, maraming salamat at talagang andiyan pa rin kayo,” he said.
The long-awaited event, which had over 135,000 avid PBB fans watching online, also gave updates on the housemates who did not pursue showbiz after the show. “December 2019 yung pinaka biggest blessing na dumating sa akin is when I had my daughter. I have an eight month na so mother na rin,” said Chx Alcala. Racquel Reyes, who was known as “Teacher Racquel” inside the house shared that she now sells multivitamins, beauty products, and other food supplements. Olongapo-based Rico Barreira, the first evicted Pinoy Big Brother housemate, shared that he is also a new parent with a seven-month-old baby.
Bob dela Cruz, who is based in Bulacan, said he still has plans to run for office again someday. Before leaving the chat, Bob gave a message to his former housemates and bosses in PBB. “Happy 15 years na samahan. So sa mga lahat ng mga housemates, yung mga kasa kasama natin diyan, yung mga housemates, yung mga sumubaybay ng 24/7, thank you po. Kung ano man po ako at yung ibang housemates, dahil po sa inyo yan. Sobrang thankful ako kay Ma’am Linggit (Tan) at Direk Lauren (Dyogi) sa opportunity. At sa lahat ng naging housemates ko, ang masasabi ko lang laban lang tayo kahit na nandiyan yung pandemic. Hindi yan nawawala, laging andiyan na yan. Kailangan lang gumawa tayo ng pamamaraan na maka-survive at malagpasan yung nararanasan natin na pagsubok sa buhay. Tuloy tuloy lang. Lahat kayo na-miss ko. Sana magkita tayo personally kung magkaroon tayo ng pagkakataon,” he shared.
Former housemate Uma Khouny, who has been living abroad for the past decade, said that his life in New York is simple. Known as the most candid and outspoken housemate of PBB 1, Uma joined the chat while doing personal errands outside. “I’m just at the park with a view of the U.N building. Nothing, wala akong ginagawa. I work. Trabaho bahay,” he said.
During their online reunion, the housemates also shared what they missed most 15 years after living in the PBB house for almost four months. “Nami-miss ko yung wala kang iniisip kundi gumawa lang ng task at kumain ng food,” Say admits. “Ako nami-miss ko magtinda lang ng Koko Crunch, yung Kelloggs,” adds Jayson. While Uma says the only thing he missed was his fellow housemates. Missing from the virtual reunion were other season 1 housemates Cassandra Ponti, JB Magsaysay, and Jenny Suico.